Choosing keywords is one of the most important tasks when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it falls only behind link building on a scale of importance. You need to think very carefully about what keyword phrases and word choices people would use when looking to buy your product or service. Carefully selecting the right keywords will be the difference between getting traffic that converts and getting traffic that is worthless.
Unique content is essential to any blog’s wellbeing and popularity. Google sends traffic to websites it views as authoritative, and today that doesn’t include websites that have duplicate content.
Content Is Still King
Not only is content king, it’s queen and all the pawns too, and it works together in concert to make a wonderful and enchanting kingdom. Okay, seriously… all the types of content you put on your blog, or someone else’s as a guest, needs to be considered unique by the search engines for Google to care about it at all.
Use web directories to build link popularity and increase your search engine rankings in 2021.
Using web directories to build backlinks can greatly improve your search engine rankings.
Even in this era of technological breakthroughs, many website owners have a wrong idea about web directories, there are thousands but the focus will be the high quality directories.
Article writing to increase link popularity
One of the most discussed topics today is Article Writing and Link Building. Many content creators are jumping into the bandwagon and are trying to revive and reinvent their old writing talents to good measure.
It is a known fact that there are several benefits in article writing and submitting articles to article directories but the main objective of most webmasters is to obtain one way links, thereby increasing Link Popularity and to generate Targeted Traffic.
Basic SEO for your website to improve Google rankings in 2021
Would you like to receive some free traffic from search engines, one of the easiest ways to achieve this is by using SEO on your pages or your domain name, to do this you need to use the following techniques.
Powerful Content Creation Strategies for Exploding Traffic and Link Popularity
One of the most discussed topics today is content creation. Many influencers are jumping into the bandwagon and are trying to revive and reinvent their old writing talents to good measure.
Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.
Are you serious about growing your business? Your website needs to be able to grow with you.
Shared hosting limits your site’s space, and you’ll soon outgrow it. But what’s the next step?
Dedicated hosting gives you everything you need for your business. It allows for customization, more storage, and lets you make the most of your online presence.
So, how do you choose the best dedicated hosting service to give you the most value for your money?
Let’s talk about some of the best dedicated hosting options in 2021 to make things easier for you.
Top 7 Options for Dedicated Hosting
- Bluehost—Best for Comprehensive Dedicated Hosting Features
- HostGator—Best Customer Support with Dedicated Hosting
- DreamHost—Best for Managed Dedicated Hosting
- InMotion—Best Dedicated Hosting for Technical Websites
- A2 Hosting—Best Dedicated Hosting for Website Performance
- Liquid Web—Best for Customizable Dedicated Hosting
- TMDHosting—Best Dedicated Hosting for Quick Startup
How to Choose the Best Dedicated Hosting for You
When you choose a dedicated host, knowing the features you need will save you time. You want one that helps your website perform at its best at all times. Factoring in these additional elements of a dedicated hosting service will help your website stand out.
Managed or Unmanaged
Whether you choose a managed or unmanaged host depends on your server knowledge and how much control you want over your dedicated hosting.
A managed hosting service means that the host takes care of server problems for you. They manage the operating system (OS), control panel, setup, and anything else that comes with the platform when you buy it.
Unmanaged hosting is cheaper, but that’s because you manage everything yourself. The host still does the bare minimum when it comes to network maintenance, but they won’t help you manage software, servers, security, or errors.
An unmanaged system means you have more control, but that doesn’t mean much if you don’t know what you’re doing. Feeling comfortable with a managed hosting service can make it worth the extra cost.
If you want to grow your business, get dedicated hosting that will grow with it. Scalable hosting allows you to configure your hosting to your individual website’s needs. It also prevents downtime associated with server limits.
According to Forbes, data breaches cost companies an average of $3.9 million. A dedicated host with high-quality security helps protect your business.
It also means your customers feel comfortable shopping with you. That way, you can avoid problems and build trust with your customers.
A dedicated host helps you keep your website’s uptime as close to 100% as possible. Downtime can cost you website traffic and, by extension, conversions.
Find a provider that keeps up availability and guarantees maximum uptime. Ideally, you want a host with an uptime of at least 99.98% or higher.
Dedicated hosting gives you control over configuration and software installation, so you can work your website as you wish. Administrative access helps you tailor your service to your business. You control which services you use with your dedicated host.
Operating System and Hardware
Some hosts support more than one OS, but others don’t. If you choose the wrong one, you might not be able to use it with your website.
Hardware determines whether the server can meet your business needs. Check things like the CPU model and speed, RAM size, bandwidth, and hard disk capacity before you buy.
The Different Types of Dedicated Hosting
Different types of dedicated hosting servers focus on various areas of your website. What might be an advantage for one business could hurt another. You want the right kind of dedicated host so that you have everything you need for the future.
Most people upgrade from shared hosting to basic dedicated hosting. Basic dedicated hosting is significantly better than shared hosting, but it still only gives you the bare bones of a hosting service.
These hosts usually have less RAM and customizability, and they have fewer features overall. They might not grow with your business as well as other higher-tech options.
High-end dedicated hosts bump you to the next level when basic doesn’t cut it. They offer more space, better features, and you can do more to make your website stand out. They also have higher overall performance without getting too tech-heavy.
Bandwidth servers work well for sites with a lot of streaming, audio, video, and similar content. They focus on speed when people visit your site and with uploads and downloads during data transfer.
These hosts range from standard metered to unmetered bandwidth, so you have the space to run streams without overloading your site.
Database hosts are some of the most complex servers. They need high-end configurations and more resources in place to manage since they hold more information. With database hosts, you can run specific databases on the server, like MySQL.
If you have a lot of apps on your site, an application server can manage them. It works with apps ranging from media files to chat software and tons of other stuff. When you have so much on your website, you want a dedicated host that can handle it.
You’ve heard that you should back up your data, and server-mirroring hosts do it best. They synchronize your servers, so you don’t lose your hard work. They transfer your data from one server to the other and prevent data loss.
#1 Bluehost—Best for Comprehensive Dedicated Hosting Features
Bluehost is one of the best dedicated hosting services out there, and for good reason. It’s cheaper than other dedicated hosts while still giving you tons of features for your website. Its 99.98% uptime also puts it near the top of the list when it comes to performance.
Bluehost has all of the basic dedicated hosting features, plus several more advanced ones, giving you room to grow. With access control and database management, you have everything you need at your fingertips and 24/7 access to customer support if you have a problem.
You can get three different hosting packages with Bluehost:
- Standard: $79.99 per month
- Enhanced: $99.99 per month
- Premium: $119.99 per month
Standard gives you four cores at 2.3GHz and 500GB of mirrored storage so you can back up your data. With 4GB RAM, you don’t get an impressive amount of storage, but it works well for simpler websites. 5TB bandwidth gives you the speed you need to keep things up and running with three IP addresses.
The Enhanced package bumps you to the next level with the same number of cores at 2.5GHz and 1TB of mirrored storage. It doubles the bandwidth to 10TB and gives you four IP addresses.
Premium, the highest tier, also gives you four cores at 3.3GHz and 1TB of mirrored storage. It once again doubles the RAM to 16GB, adds to the bandwidth for 15TB, and gives you five IP addresses.
With Bluehost, you get a free domain name for the first year, a free SSL certificate, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. The biggest downside to Bluehost is that they only have one server location. It’s in the United States, so if you run your website internationally, you might want a different host.
#2 HostGator—Best Customer Support with Dedicated Hosting
HostGator’s 99.99% uptime and unmetered bandwidth make it an attractive option for business websites. HostGator is known for its excellent customer support, which you can access 24/7/365. It also has online resources like videos and knowledge base articles to help you set up your site.
HostGator gives you three options for dedicated hosting:
- Value Server: $89.98 per month
- Power Server: $119.89 per month
- Enterprise Server: $139.99 per month
The Value Server gives you four cores with eight threads and an Intel Xeon-D CPU. Its 8GB RAM and 1TB HDD make for plenty of storage.
The next level, Power Server, comes with eight cores with 16 threads and the same CPU as the Value Server. However, it doubles your RAM to 16GB and gives you a combined 2TB HDD and 512GB SSD to store bigger applications.
The Enterprise Server has the same number of cores and threads as the Power Server and the same CPU. The upgrades come with RAM at 30GB and 1TB of SSD for your most complex applications.
You can choose between managed or semi-managed hosting based on how much you want to customize your server. Plus, each of HostGator’s packages comes with unmetered bandwidth and compatibility with Linux and Windows OS.
HostGator has two servers, but like Bluehost, they’re both in the US. Despite the host’s superior performance, it’s not a great choice for businesses with primarily international customers.
#3 DreamHost—Best for Dedicated Hosting Storage
DreamHost doesn’t have the same features or performance as many other dedicated hosting providers on this list, but it does offer a lot of storage. With a fully managed server, 24/7 tech support, and 100% uptime guaranteed, the basics are definitely covered.
You can get two packages: Standard and Enhanced. The Standard plan starts at $169 per month and comes with four cores with eight threads and 4GB RAM. Its 1TB HDD and RAID 1 storage mean DreamHost has more capacity than most other hosting services.
When it comes to the Enhanced package at $299 per month, you upgrade to 12 cores and 24 threads, 16GB RAM, and 2TB HDD with RAID 1 storage. It’s a big price jump, but remember that each feature more than doubles—and, in some cases, quadruples.
You can choose from three Standard levels and six Enhanced ones that go up to 64GB RAM.
With each package, you get root access so that you can control your settings even with a managed server. Plus, it comes with DDoS protection.
The downside comes with the high price despite its fewer features. The most expensive option sits at a lofty $379.
DreamHost has international servers in the US, Asia, and Europe, making them a solid choice for international customers.
#4 InMotion—Best Dedicated Hosting for Technical Websites
InMotion accommodates businesses that have a lot of tech needs. This high-performance platform comes with features like:
- 99.99% uptime
- Tier 1 network
- Free SSD
- 24/7 support
- Multi-layer defense
- Fast start times
It might look at first like InMotion only offers basic packages, but their Bare Metal and Managed options have plenty more in store. At $99.99 per month, Bare Metal is an unmanaged server with full root access. You can choose your OS, get automation with Ansible, and get up to 15 IP addresses. You even have RAM options starting at 16GB.
The Managed option, at $139.99 per month, gives you a fully managed server with cPanel and WHM included. You also get automated backup, so you won’t have to worry about losing data. It’s Linux-based, so you only have one OS option, but you still have RAM starting at 16GB and 15 IP addresses.
InMotion offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and customized solutions for your website. Considering its features, it’s an affordable dedicated hosting service.
#5 A2 Hosting—Best Dedicated Hosting for Website Performance
A2 Hosting is known for keeping websites running at top speed. With a commitment to 99.9% uptime and 24/7 customer service, it has the tools to keep customers on your site.
A2 Hosting offers three options for management, including unmanaged and two types of managed servers. With the managed version, you have no root access. Core gives you root access to your managed server for more customizability.
They use the SwiftServer platform for faster performance and claim to give you a website up to 20 times faster than other hosts.
A2 Hosting comes with three tiers:
- Sprint: $141.09 per month
- Exceed: $207.49 per month
- Mach: $290.49 per month
The Sprint package comes with 8GB RAM and 2x500GB storage with 10TB transfer. It gives you two cores with Intel 3.1+GHz.
The Exceed package offers a small upgrade with the same amount of RAM and storage. You get a 15TB transfer, plus four cores and Intel Xeon 2.4+GHz for a faster system.
With Mach, you make a wider jump to 16GB RAM, 1x1000GB storage, and 20TB transfer. This package sets you up for speed with over eight cores and the 2x Intel Xeon 2.1+GHz processor.
Unlike other hosting services, A2 Hosting has an anytime money-back guarantee.
#6 Liquid Web—Best for Customizable Dedicated Hosting
Liquid Web has fully customizable servers with real-time monitoring and root access. It looks pricey at first, but don’t let that deter you before you’ve explored what this hosting service has to offer.
Liquid Web comes with SeverSecure advanced security, Worldwide Cloudflare CDN, and business-grade storage. It also has a support team to manage its servers, and they offer 24/7/365 customer service.
You can get three packages of dedicated hosting service:
- Intel Xeon 1230: $199 per month
- Intel Xeon 4108: $299 per month
- Intel Xeon Gold 6130: $499 per month
The Intel Xeon 1230 comes with four cores, 32GB RAM, and 5TB bandwidth. It gives you impressive storage with 2x240GB SSD on the primary disk and a 1x1TB SATA backup disk.
When you upgrade to Intel Xeon 4108, you double your cores, RAM, and storage on both the primary and backup disks. With 8TB bandwidth, you guarantee speed and performance.
Despite its significant price jump, the Intel Xeon Gold 6130 doesn’t seem to offer anything new in terms of RAM, storage, or bandwidth. However, you do get 16 cores.
Every package comes with 250 Acronis Cyber Backups. Liquid Web also has value bundles if the basic packages don’t meet your bandwidth or memory needs.
#7 TMDHosting—Best Dedicated Hosting for Quick Startup
TMDHosting might not be as big or fancy as other dedicated hosting services, but it does give you a quality site fast. It focuses on power and speed, so you’ll have no problem upgrading if your site struggles with lots of traffic or other changes. With fully managed servers, you don’t need to sweat the tech.
TMDHosting offers four dedicated hosting packages:
- Starter: $159.95 per month
- The Original: $199.95 per month
- Smart: $249.95 per month
- Super Powerful: $299.95 per month
For a basic package, Starter gives you an impressive 1TB storage with RAID-10. You also get four CPU cores with eight threads and 8GB DDR4 RAM, so you have plenty of space for everything on your site.
The Original upgrades you to 2TB storage and six CPU cores with 12 threads. You get the same amount of RAM, so it’s not a huge jump. Then again, neither is the price.
At the Smart level, you get the same amount of storage as the Original. The upgrades come in the form of eight CPU cores with 16 threads and 16GB DDR4 RAM.
At the top, Super Powerful comes with 2x2TB storage with RAID-10. You still get eight CPU cores and 16 threads, but with 32GB DDR4 RAM, you’ve got plenty of room for memory and storage.
Each level comes with unlimited bandwidth, free setup, premium support, and a cPanel and WHM. TMDHosting claims that they can have your website up and ready to go in 20 minutes, blowing the 24+ hours of other hosting services out of the water.
A website is only as good as its dedicated hosting service. Choose one that gives you everything you need, whether that’s speed, customization, or support when you need it. You can find dedicated hosting you trust, so explore your options and determine which one fits your business. Use this guide as a resource for narrowing down your options with our methodology and top choices.
Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.
What would you do with ten extra hours a month?
You’d probably work on growing your business, right? Maybe you’d spend it creating new marketing campaigns to generate more revenue. Perhaps you’d take half a day off to spend time with your family.
Regardless, the average small business owner spends five hours every pay period running payroll. That adds up to 21 full work-days a year.
But thankfully, that’s not what your payroll process has to look like.
The best payroll services simplify and streamline the process of paying your employees. They automate time-consuming tasks and give HR the tools they need to stay on top of taxes, benefits packages, paid time off, and other payroll factors.
Choosing the right payroll service is important, because they all do things a little differently. Let’s talk about the major features you are looking for and how to evaluate the top services available today.
The 6 Best Payroll Service Options for 2021
- Gusto – Best payroll service for small businesses
- OnPay – Most flexible payroll service
- Paychex – Best for larger organizations
- ADP – Best payroll service with built-in HR
- QuickBooks Payroll – Best for QuickBooks integration
- Wave Payroll – Most affordable payroll service
How to Choose the Best Payroll Service for You
If you’ve spent some time searching for solutions from Google or asking for peers’ recommendations, you know there are hundreds of payroll companies to choose from.
With so many options, it can feel like a difficult decision.
To help you narrow things down, let’s walk through what to consider as you go through the process.
Number of Employees
Most services charge a set monthly fee plus a small fee per employee. So, it’s essential to consider the number of employees you need to pay.
Some payroll services may limit the number of employees on certain plans while others may forego the per-employee fee altogether. Furthermore, some may also offer features that make it easier to pay many people at once.
You also need to consider whether you’re paying employees or contractors, because the process and fee structure may be different for each role.
Basic Payroll Features
The best payroll services exist to simplify the process of paying your employees. So, every payroll service you consider should have a set of critical features, including:
- Automatic payroll options
- Self-service portal for full-time and part-time employees
- Mobile capability to manage payroll on the go
- Direct deposit so your employees get paid quickly
- Automatic tax calculations and withholdings
- W-2 and 1099 employee management
There are other advanced features you may want to consider as well, depending on what you need. This includes things like HR tools, benefits management, wage garnishments, and more.
Filing tax is a complicated and time-consuming process. It can also result in unfortunate and expensive penalties if you don’t do it right.
Many payroll services offer tax features that simplify the process, like calculating payroll tax to automatically withholding employee income tax.
So, it’s important to choose a payroll service that offers essential tax features to make your accountant’s life easier.
Built-In HR Tools
If you offer benefits to your employees, you need a payroll service that helps you effectively manage things like time off, vacation requests, workers’ compensation, insurance, and more.
Furthermore, services with an employee self-service dashboard make this much more manageable. Employees can log in, update their accounts, request time off, and see an overview of their benefits package.
The cheaper options on this list tend to ditch HR features. So, carefully consider what you need against your budget before making any decisions.
Monthly Payroll Limits
If you have salaried employees or a set payroll schedule, most payroll services are adequate. However, if you pay freelancers or contractors on an irregular basis or run payroll more than twice a month, you need to be careful.
Some services offer unlimited payroll processing, while others limit the number of times you can issue payments every month.
So, carefully consider how often you need to send payments when making your final decision.
To further simplify your business processes, it’s crucial to consider the business tools you’re already using to run your business.
It’s important to choose a payroll service provider that integrates seamlessly with those tools. Think about your accounting software, your employee scheduling software, and other essential tools related to payroll.
The Different Types of Payroll Services
There are several different services to consider, depending on your business’s size and your specific payroll needs.
So, before we dive into my top recommendations, I want to talk about the different types and how to decide between them.
1. Hiring someone to do it for you
If you can afford it, hiring someone (either in-house or as a contractor) to run payroll for you is an excellent option. This ensures you find someone who knows how to do it and that they have the time to do it well.
However, you still need payroll software. They may have their own preferences and expertise, which may help you decide which service is right for your business.
With that said, many small businesses don’t necessarily need to hire someone.
The best payroll services make running payroll easy, so anyone on your team can take care of it in a few clicks.
2. Software as a service (SaaS)
The software as a service (SaaS) model means you pay to use the software. Most service providers charge monthly or annually for this, and as long as you keep paying, you get to keep using it.
Most SaaS tools are cloud-based, meaning you can access it from a web browser anywhere.
However, some also offer desktop applications and mobile apps you install on a specific device.
This is the most common type of payroll service and the most convenient to use because you and your employees can access their accounts from any device, anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
All of the recommendations on this list are SaaS payroll services.
3. Enterprise-grade solutions
Most payroll services offer enterprise-grade and industry-specific solutions for large businesses. They come with specialized, custom pricing to match the unique needs of enterprise-grade companies.
A software like this could be a SaaS tool or an on-premise deployment, depending on what you need and the company you choose.
Most businesses don’t need this. But if you manage payroll for a large company or find your current solution limited, it may be a good idea to consider an enterprise solution.
#1 – Gusto Review — The Best for Small Businesses
If you’re a small business looking for a simple payroll service, Gusto is a smart choice. And you’ll be in good company with more than 100,000+ other small businesses around the world.
Gusto makes onboarding, paying, insuring, and supporting employees as easy as possible. And they don’t call themselves a “people platform” for no reason.
They offer the right set of tools and services to make your life (and your employees’ lives) easier.
Running payroll takes just a few clicks, and you can enjoy unlimited payroll runs every month. Need to pay seven different contractors at different times? No problem.
Need to pay the same employees the same wages every pay period? You can set it up to run automatically without you having to lift a finger.
Plus, you get access to a wide variety of features, including:
- Automatic tax calculations
- Built-in time tracking capabilities
- Health insurance, 401(k), PTO, workers’ comp, and more
- Compliance with I-9’s, W-2s, and 1099s
- Employee self-service onboarding and dashboards
- Next-day direct deposits (on specific plans)
And the best part? It’s affordable.
If you don’t have W-2 employees, Gusto starts at $6 per contractor per month. But if you do have full-time or part-time employees, expect to pay a bit more. Their other paid plans include:
- Basic — $19 per month + $6 per person per month
- Core — $39 per month + $6 per person per month
- Complete — $39 per month + $12 per person per month
- Concierge — $149 per month + $12 per person per month
Gusto is perfect for most startups and small businesses. But, large companies with complex benefits packages and hundreds of employees may find it limiting.
#2 – OnPay Review — The Most Flexible Payroll Service
If you’re looking for an all-in-one payroll system with transparent pricing and virtually unlimited flexibility, OnPay is an excellent choice.
Whether you’re a small company or a fast-growth startup, OnPay is versatile enough to suit your needs. Plus, you never have to guess how much you’re going to pay every month with their transparent pricing.
And you can rest easy knowing you have access to every feature OnPay offers regardless of the number of employees you have because they only provide one pricing plan.
Their software includes access to powerful features, including:
- Unlimited monthly payroll runs
- W-2 and 1099 capabilities
- Automatic tax calculations and filings
- Employee self-service onboarding and dashboards
- Intuitive mobile app for management on the go
- PTO, e-signing, org charts, and custom workflows
- Integrated workers’ comp, health insurance, and retirement
- Multi-state payroll
Plus, getting started is super easy. All you have to do is set up your account, add your employees, and start running payroll. Furthermore, OnPay automatically calculates and withholds taxes so you don’t have to worry about manual calculations or human error again.
They also offer specialized solutions for different industries, including nonprofits, restaurants, and farming/agriculture.
OnPay is $36 per month plus $4 per person per month. So, you can add new employees to the software for just a few dollars, making it excellent for fast-growing companies and small businesses alike.
And while OnPay can handle large companies with hundreds of employees, there are better enterprise options available. It’s most suitable for small businesses and fast-growth companies that need simple pricing and flexibility.
Try OnPay free for 30 days to see if it’s right for you!
#3 – Paychex Review — The Best for Larger Organizations
Paychex is an excellent choice for businesses with more than 50 employees. They also offer low-tier plans for small businesses, but they’re quite limited compared to the other small business options on this list.
However, their midsize to enterprise plans are perfect for large companies.
The larger your business is, the worse small discrepancies and human errors affect your tax calculations. And wrong tax filings equal harsh penalties from the IRS, even if it was an accident.
So as a large company, it’s imperative to have a payroll service that adapts to meet your needs. Paychex is more than a payroll service. It’s a human capital management (HCM) system designed to help you save time and reduce errors.
Their enterprise plans include features like:
- Recruiting and onboarding
- Performance and learning management
- Powerful real-time analytics
- 100% employee self-service
- Payroll automation features
- Direct deposit, paper checks, and paycards
- Salary, hourly, and contract workers
- Paycheck garnishments
- PTO and benefits management
- Job costing and labor distribution
All of which are scalable for enterprises with thousands of employees (or as little as 50). Plus, Paychex services more than 650,000+ companies and has more than 50 years of experience in the industry.
So, you can rest easy knowing you’re in good hands.
With that said, getting started isn’t as easy as it is with some of the other options on this list. Because each deployment is tailored to your business, you can’t get going on your own. However, they do offer a team of specialists to help you get the ball rolling.
Contact their sales team for a custom quote to get started!
#4 – ADP Review — The Best for Built-In HR Features
ADP is the way to go if you’re looking for a payroll service with the most built-in HR features. It’s perfect for smaller companies without an HR department and growing/large companies looking to streamline the process.
ADP works with more than 700,000 businesses in 140+ countries, making it one of the most popular payroll services for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
They offer tailored solutions for small, midsize, and enterprise businesses, so you’re sure to find the perfect solution whether you have five employees or 1000+.
Their lower-tiered plans include basic payroll features like automatic tax calculations, employee self-service tools, a mobile app, PTO management, and complete compliance support.
However, ADP offers more than just basic payroll and HR. They also include time tracking, talent recruitment, HR consulting services, advanced employee benefits, and the option to outsource your entire payroll/HR department.
You can also get unique benefits, like personalized training, legal assistance, background checks, and interview scheduling too.
Furthermore, ADP offers industry-specific solutions for nine different industries, including:
Note: ADP pricing isn’t available online, so it may not be suitable for micro or small businesses interested in getting started quickly. If you need something fast and straightforward, my #1 recommendation is Gusto.
Request a free quote to see if ADP is right for you today.
#5 – Quickbooks Payroll — The Best for QuickBooks Integration
Quickbooks Online is one of the most well-known accounting tools on the market. And if you’re already a user, QuickBooks Payroll is an excellent addition to your tech stack.
The two tools integrate seamlessly, making account reconciliation and tax season a breeze.
Furthermore, QuickBooks’ payroll system works in all 50 states. So, whether you have a remote team or work with contractors across the country, you don’t have to worry about making errors or mishandling taxes.
You can also rest easy knowing your federal, state, and local taxes are automatically calculated plus paid for you every time you run payroll. Plus, the entire process is easily automated after your first round of payments.
With QuickBooks, you get a full-service payroll system regardless of the plan you choose.
And the user interface is aesthetically pleasing with direct deposit payments landing in your employees’ bank accounts within 24 – 48 hours.
The Core Plan starts at $45 per month, plus $4 per employee per month. It includes:
- Full-service payroll with unlimited runs
- Automatic payments after the first run
- Health benefits
- Wage garnishments
- Next-day direct deposit
- 24/7 live chat support
- All 50 states
So, even their most basic plan includes everything you need to simplify your HR and payroll processes.
But if that isn’t enough, their advanced plans include:
- Premium — $75 per month + $8/employee per month
- Elite — $125 per month + $10/employee per month
Get 70% off your first three months to take QuickBooks Payroll for a test drive today!
Note: 1099 contractors and freelancers aren’t included. It comes as an add-on with additional monthly fees. So, this isn’t the most affordable choice if you frequently handle contractors or freelancers.
#6 – Wave Payroll Review — The Most Affordable Payroll Service
If you’re on a tight budget, Wave Payroll is an affordable payroll option. Wave also offers numerous other small business tools for free, including invoicing, accounting, and receipt management.
The different apps integrate seamlessly to create an affordable small business accounting and payroll solution.
With Wave, getting started takes just a few minutes, and running payroll goes even faster. Plus, they offer a 100% accuracy guarantee. You can also pay hourly, salary, and contractors and automatically generate the right tax forms.
In some states, Wave automatically files and pays your state/federal payroll taxes for you. However, in those states, Wave’s services are more expensive.
You also get access to features, like:
- Automatic journal entries (if you use Wave Accounting)
- Self-service pay stubs and tax forms for your employees
- Workers’ compensation management
- Basic payroll reporting
- Automatic year-end tax forms
- Timesheets for PTO and accruals
While Wave is one of the most affordable payroll services, it doesn’t sacrifice functionality and essential features. Despite being cheaper than the other options on this list, you still get all the essentials you need to run payroll for your small business.
In tax service states, Wave is $35 per month + $6 per contractor/employee per month. This service isn’t necessarily cheaper than the other options on this list.
But, it’s still a great option if you’re a small business owner looking for a simple payroll solution.
However, it’s $20 per month + $6 per contractor/employee per month in self-service states. At this price, it’s easily the cheapest option with the most features available.
And don’t forget that Wave Payroll seamlessly integrates with Wave’s free accounting and invoicing software as well.
So, if you don’t yet have accounting software, this is a smart choice.
Try Wave Payroll free for 30 days to see if it’s right for you and your business!
They’re all excellent for small and fast-growth businesses with the ability to scale to match your needs. Plus, they’re affordable and easy to use.
However, different businesses require different solutions.
So, don’t forget to use the considerations we talked about as you go through the process of choosing the best payroll services for your business.
What payroll services do you prefer?
Did you know that archeologists have traced the origin of the meme back to the year 3 B.C.?
Memes, a term coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in 1976 to describe how ideas replicate, mutate, and evolve, are a way to carry a shared idea or trend to engage a target group. Over time, different groups take memes and tweak them to make them their own.
Memes are all about creating engagement and community by communicating something that everyone in your circle understands. It’s a way to develop a sense of belonging, something platforms like Facebook have been savvy to for years.
That’s precisely why your brand should be including memes in your content marketing plan. If you can create and share on-target memes that engage your audience, you could create that same sense of community, develop brand loyalty, and even tap into new markets.
Why You Should Use Memes in Your Content Marketing
Some of the most recognizable brands in the world include memes in their content marketing strategy. Here’s why:
Memes Increase Engagement
Memes are very shareable and help people connect through humor.
If done right, they make people feel part of an inside joke, and who doesn’t like to be the one in the know?
Subscription service BarkBox has based their Instagram account on all those funny little quirks about dogs that only dog lovers know. One of their running jokes? The war between dogs and squirrels. They’ve created a series of mosaics with their Instagram posts, which is a pretty creative way to display their memes.
Not only does BarkBox keep their audience engaged, but they play off of themes that function as inside jokes between themselves and their 1.7 million followers. These are themes only dog lovers would understand, making them feel part of an exclusive group.
Memes Entertain Your Audience
Users are most engaged on social media when they’re entertained. Study-help site SparkNotes gets that, and they also understand that students aren’t always enthralled by their assigned reading.
So, SparkNotes uses pop-culture trends to liven up classic novel plots and plug their service at the same time.
However, you don’t necessarily have to create brand-related memes. You can make memes that simply entertain and relate somehow to your audience. In fact, in many cases, linking a meme to your brand can feel forced. Sometimes it’s better to let the meme speak for itself.
Clothing retailer ASOS is great at creating memes that play off holidays, current events, and trending topics. Although many of their memes tie to their brand, they’re not afraid to throw in a funny meme just to keep their audience entertained.
Here’s a meme they released for Thanksgiving.
It has nothing to do with the brand but everything to do with the mood of the day. It got some shares and likes and kept their brand top-of-mind on a day when most people’s minds were on their plates.
Memes Are Easy to Create
Memes like the ASOS example above are pretty easy to make, and they’re inexpensive, too. You don’t even need fancy image editing software, just a free meme generator, such as Imgur.
Meme generators let you search for images for your meme by filtering through popular memes or uploading your image.
Once you choose an image (I chose Annoyed Picard), it lets you add text using that all-too-familiar meme font. They even give you suggestions from recently created memes with the same image. (Just keep in mind that not all of them are office-appropriate. I’ve blurred out some questionable ones in this example.)
Once you add your text, you can download your meme and use it on your social platforms.
That’s it. No expensive image creation. No keyword research. Pretty simple.
Memes Let You Be Creative
You don’t necessarily have to piggyback on a popular meme that’s already trending. Frankly, it can be tough to keep up-to-date on all the latest memes.
Once you have a good sense of what your audience responds to, you can try creating your own memes from scratch. Of course, this does require more effort and more money for original, quality images, but if your audience responds well and starts sharing, it could be worth it.
Doritos fills their Instagram account with original memes, many of them tapping into nostalgia for the 80s and 90s, no doubt addressing their target audience.
If you grew up in the 80s and 90s, you probably remember the popularity of friendship necklaces.
Memes Allow You to Show Your Brand’s Personality
There are two things you can do with your social accounts. You can reinforce your current brand personality or use them to create a whole new one.
Many older brands have done the latter, using the more relaxed, casual tone on social media to shed their stuffy reputations and inject their products with a fresher (or even a snarkier) persona.
MoonPie is a great example. The original treat was invented in 1917, and the company that makes them started in 1902. However, to look at their Instagram account, you wouldn’t take them for a 118-year-old company.
They’ve created a much younger, much funnier persona to cultivate a new following for the centenarian dessert.
8 Ways to Effectively Use Memes In Your Content Marketing
So, now you’re convinced you should include memes in your content marketing strategy, but before you jump in, there are some things to consider first. As easy as memes are to make, some planning is still involved, and some solid techniques to incorporate can make your memes relatable, shareable, and maybe even viral.
1. Know Your Audience
Have you ever seen a stand-up show where the comedian’s jokes kept missing the mark? The audience didn’t understand the jokes, or they just didn’t think they were funny? More often than not, that happens when a comedian hasn’t tailored their material for their audience.
A joke about the AARP, for instance, isn’t going to fly with a Gen Z crowd. They’re not even thinking about retirement. Meanwhile, a joke using terms like stan and salty with Gen X will most likely fall on deaf ears.
The same goes for memes.
Take Chase Bank’s tweet ostensibly advising a Millennial. While not exactly a meme, it became one when Senator Elizabeth Warren slammed them for what many called a tone-deaf and condescending post.
No doubt you already know your audience’s age, cultural background, race, location, industry, and every other demographic. All that information you’ve collected for your other content marketing initiatives can help you make memes that hit the mark, too.
2. Create Original Memes
Even if you’re using a popular meme image, your message should be original and somehow related to your audience or brand. Don’t try to repurpose someone else’s joke for your audience. It just won’t work.
Some memes tap into the nostalgia factor. Whether it’s about 90s dance music or 80s fashion, a good nostalgia meme, like the example from Doritos, makes your audience feel like part of something bigger. Memes are all about community building.
Other brands use sarcasm or satire to get their point across. Still, others inject their memes with a bit of humility. Don’t be afraid to poke fun at yourself because it can make your brand seem more human and approachable. Chipotle, for instance, has attracted a million followers with their humorous and often self-deprecating tweets and memes.
This one riffed off a meme format that trended in 2020 during the COVID lockdowns.
No matter what, it has to be funny. Whether you’re trying to make a point or get people to reminisce about the good ol’ days, every meme does it with humor. If your meme isn’t funny, it most likely won’t be shared.
3. Do Your Take on a Popular Meme
One of the easiest pieces of content to create is a riff on an already viral meme. In 2018, Ruffles did a witty take on a stock photo that went viral a few years earlier.
4. Stay Relevant With Memes
When a mysterious monolith appeared (and then disappeared) in the Utah desert in 2020, the memes weren’t far behind. Amazon jumped on the opportunity to show its relevance and humor.
If you can seize on an opportunity to be on-trend and make it relevant to your brand, go for it! Just don’t force it if it doesn’t work for your brand voice or your audience.
Pro Tip: If a trend is a few days to a week into its life cycle, consider skipping it and moving on to the next trend. You may have missed the train on that one, and you risk your brand looking out of touch.
5. Develop Your Brand’s Personality With Memes
Wendy’s has one of the most identifiable brand personas on social. In 2017, the fast-food chain decided to take a risk and turn their sweet-looking mascot, Wendy, into a witty snarker who trolls other fast-food brands’ accounts.
Sure, it could stop at its memes, but Wendy’s takes it a step further, jumping on the memes of other fast-food chains to maintain their rep.
Take the Twitter war that erupted when Burger King tried to throw shade on Wendy’s:
6. Don’t Be Tacky
No self-respecting brand starts out thinking, “We’re going to make an inappropriate meme that gets all the wrong kind of attention.” Still, brands do occasionally stumble into a topic they shouldn’t touch.
When you try to make a funny meme on a topic that’s all wrong for your brand (or all wrong for any brand), you come off as tone-deaf at best.
I’m not sure that Dr. Suess would have appreciated this tweet from Charmin.
You can, however, turn someone else’s tone-deaf moment into an opportunity. In October 2020, Kim Kardashian received major backlash after she posted pictures of herself and her closest friends partying on a private island, just as COVID cases began to surge once again. The caption read:
After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time.
All kinds of brands, including the New-York Historical Society, leaped at the opportunity to throw their two cents in.
If you try to tackle a trending topic like this, tread carefully. You don’t want to come off as insensitive or thoughtless yourself.
7. Research Your Memes
While Wendy’s generally receives high praise for its social media content, even this master of the meme can take a wrong turn from time to time. On one occasion, Wendy’s responded to a customer’s tweet by posting a Pepe the Frog meme, a symbol that has been adopted by white nationalist groups.
Wendy’s deleted the post as soon as they realized their mistake, and they eventually recovered from their gaffe. However, some damage was done, and a lesson had to be learned. Always research your memes before you post.
8. Stay on Brand
What do all of the brands highlighted in this article have in common? They’ve created a consistent brand persona and stuck with it.
No matter what you decide to do with your memes, keep it consistent. Otherwise, you risk confusing (and losing) your audience.
If done right, memes can become a pretty useful tool in your content marketing plan. They can help you reach new audiences and give your brand a human element through humor. Plus, they can help you connect with your audience without having to worry too much about keywords or content frameworks.
Memes can even help a brand reinvent itself. Their casual, funny tone lends a lighter, more contemporary voice to brands that may have previously been known for their serious demeanor.
Besides, memes are just fun.
What kinds of memes would be most effective for your brand?
The post How to Effectively Use Memes in Your Content Marketing appeared first on Neil Patel.
“When people start ABM initiatives, the question they often skip is, which accounts should I be after? In the end, ABM only works if you know which accounts are likely to buy, and what you can sell them.”
A simple message delivered by Gil Canare, former Senior Research Director at SiriusDecisions, now a B2B marketing tech practitioner again. But what’s easily understood is not always so easily implemented — even in a business environment where getting the basics right is critical.
Can these accounts buy? “Especially now,” he went on, “there are a lot of external factors, like are these accounts even in a position to buy? Are they retrenching? Are they expanding?” Companies struggling with their ABM strategy might not have figured out where best to direct their efforts.
Canare was speaking on an episode of MarTech Live back in November. It’s not only a question of targeting the right accounts, but targeting them at the right moment: they may have been in market for something like your product, but already have bought it from a competitor, or they might be putting the need on the back-burner until Q1 next year. How should you go about identifying in-market accounts?
Three things to consider. “I break that problem down into three parts,” said Canare. “The first part, which in this kind of market is really important, is capability to buy. Could they really buy? You have to look at it dispassionately; look at the firmographics, look their financials. Once you’ve figured out that, the next step is: are they looking? That’s where intent comes in. And the last part is, are they likely to buy from you, which is propensity.”
Another simple but important rule for marketers: find out what the sales team thinks. If marketing is not talking to sales? “That’s a giant red flag,” said Canare. The capability research discussed above can be done through third-party sources, but also through talking to your sales people, Canare explained. “That capability question is paramount right now.”
Digital engagement. When it comes to how to engage with accounts, Canare recommends taking a look at what has changed between a year ago and now. “One of the channels that has been shut off, largely, is that informal, always-on sales channel. When I was at SiriusDecisions, a lot of time was spent just hanging out in clients’ offices, and having these really serendipitous conversations that frankly the sales teams are not having right now.”
Sales teams are exploring ways to re-create that kind of spontaneous engagement. But if sales conversations are more like digital conversations now, that creates an imperative for the digital customer journey to not just be a series of discrete points in time, but to be connected to these sales conversations. “There can’t be two parallel streams any more, where you have a set of sales conversations supported by digital: now it’s all digital.”
Why we care. B2B marketing and sales teams likely have an ABM strategy in place, but as we enter year two of the pandemic, it’s critical to confirm that the basics are in place.
This story first appeared on MarTech Today.